Pregnancy center announces plans to close

October 25, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

Additional organizations that provide help to pregnant women

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Birthright of Washington County, a "nonjudgmental, confidential pregnancy center," is closing the first week in November, its director said last week.

When the economy turned bad, the nonprofit group north of Hagerstown saw a drop in donations, said Director Bernadette Winslow.

The group helps "moms with any of their needs, related to anything with their children or their unplanned pregnancy," Winslow said.

Birthright has provided free pregnancy tests, maternity clothes, infant and toddler clothing, toys and children's books, Winslow said. The group also has provided free diapers and formula, on an emergency basis, she said.


Birthright also has been a referral service to help parents find other community resources, such as the Department of Social Services or adoption agencies, Winslow said.

The group does not have eligibility guidelines for people who need help, she said.

Birthright of Washington County has had an office in the Hagerstown area since 1980. After being at various locations in downtown Hagerstown, the group moved to 12919 Oak Hill Ave. in the early 1990s.

Winslow said the all-volunteer organization has been able to provide goods and services for free thanks to donations from churches, community organizations and individuals.

But the economy's decline led to a drop in donations just as need went up.

"The need for clothing and diapers has escalated since the economy has gone bad," Winslow said.

Birthright is part of an international network of centers.

According to, the closest centers other than Hagerstown are at 216 W. Patrick St. in Frederick, Md. (301-663-0111) and at 103 S. Mildred St. in Ranson, W.Va. (304-724-7015).

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